Crowds aren't collecting for 1958 memorabilia

July 11, 1993|By Ruth Sadler | Ruth Sadler,Staff Writer

The last time the All-Star Game was in Baltimore, in 1958, a dedicated collector could have bought every souvenir and not been overloaded on the way home.

Sports memorabilia was not a business 35 years ago, and there just weren't that many keepsakes for sale at the game -- programs, pennants (one for each league), buttons and a pack of 24 All-Star photos.

Baltimoreans also saved ticket stubs, the magazine sections of The Sun and News-Post and post-game papers. Press pins have moved from the possession of journalists to the collectibles market.

But it's a quiet market, says Joe Bosley of The Old Ball Game in Reisterstown. He specializes in classic baseball cards and older sports memorabilia.

"I don't think there's been a lot of interest stirred up because the All-Star Game is here," he said.

He thinks it's because these items are coveted by Orioles fans and All-Star collectors, most of whom seem to have them.

Another reason is the price of the popular items. Bosley says a pro- gram or press pin can sell for $200, a ticket stub for $100 and pennants, which list the names of the players, for $200 each.

"The price of that stuff is beyond the novice collector," he said. "If the program was 25 bucks, we'd have people lined up to buy it."

Last week, Bosley had a program for sale, and he said he had sold a ticket stub in the past year.

Most other area dealers have gotten few inquiries.

At Jay's Sports Connection in Towson, Tom Blair said some people were trying to capitalize on the game's reappearance in Baltimore.

"We've had two or three people inquiring about getting rid of it," ++ he said. Pressed to describe the condition of the program, Blair said his caller admitted it had a tear that ran through the first few pages, limiting its value and desirability, since collectors want their memorabilia in the best condition possible.

"That's got to hit the hot button of a certain collector to buy that," said Robbie Davis of Robbie's First Base in Timonium, "somebody who wants to spend $250."

Tim Collins at Larry Beck in Bal timore was surprised that no one had asked.

"It's odd," he said, "it being here, but nobody's asked."

"Nobody's asked about [buying] anything," Blair added. "We can get stuff if people ask."

Nobody's asking in Hampden, either, said Bud Williams of Bud's Starting Lineup. "If I [had any], it would be in my collection."

If you can't afford to buy but just want to look, the Babe Ruth Museum has it all on display through Oct. 31.

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