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Out of all the positive reviews highlighted on the back cover of Dave Jamieson’s Mint Condition: How Baseball Cards Became an American Obsession, I like how Forbes.com describes the book best.
“For anyone who can recall being excited to rip open their newest pack of cards, Mint Condition is a treat,” the reviewer writes.
While that feeling of nostalgia might have played a factor in me thoroughly enjoying this book, it’s worth a read for those generally curious about the history of American culture.
The subtitle, How Baseball Cards Became an American Obsession, suggests the nearly 300-page book is more than just about sports cards.
Mint Condition shines a light on the significant role that tobacco companies played in distributing “trade cards” in the 1860s, and subsequently how chewing gum would become associated with sports cards.
For any current baseball card collector, you know about such brands as Topps and Upper Deck. But do you know how these giant sports card corporations of today forged a name for themselves over the years? (And not to mention the humble beginnings of Bowman and Allen & Ginter)
Of course, a book on baseball cards wouldn’t be complete without talking about one of the most valuable cards out there – the T206 Honus Wagner.
It’s all in there and more.
The hobby has certainly changed over time, but like all things learned in history class – you appreciate things more now once you know more about the past. Mint Condition will help you put into perspective this little (and hopefully growing) niche we find ourselves in.