Recently, while a group of people that I work-out with were out for lunch, one of the guys leaned over and said "Hey, I heard you collect hockey cards." Now I used to get my hopes up when I heard this statement. In the past, I would imagine finding a new hobby friend and someone to discuss the new releases and our old treasures. Unfortunately, 9 times out of 10 this just isn't the case.
My response has become standard now. "Oh yeah, cool. When did you collect?" Almost without exception, the response is, "In the early '90's." Then my heart sinks. I know that they're going to say that they've got all the good players and that they were curious what kind of value they have and where they might be able to sell them. It's my unfortunate job to tell them the facts and the hard truths.
As many of the collectors know, it's almost impossible to move cards from the early 1990's. Over-production by most of the manufacturers created a lot of short-term collectors and far too many cards to make any of them worth very much now. It's unfortunate that if you collected before 1990 and after 2000, things were pretty good. It was that darn decade in the middle.
It really challenges the pride I have in my collection and my hobby. So many of the early 1990's collectors learn that their collection is almost worthless so they assume that everything that I collect is without value too. And it makes it very hard to get them interested again. Corporate greed corrupted a potential generation of collectors. The hobby will always survive but it makes you wonder if it will ever really thrive again.
Here's a tip - Toss those cards into a shoebox and sell them for a low price at a flea market or yard sale... or just give a few thousand cards to the neighbour's kids. It's a chance to create interest, rebuild the hobby, and show that the collectors are the real good guys. :)