BASEBALL CARDS BOISE ID

The history of baseball cards in Boise, Idaho stretches back over 100 years. Like many parts of America, the popularity of collecting baseball cards took off in Boise in the late 19th century as the sport of baseball grew across the country. Some of the earliest baseball cards collected and traded by kids in Boise featured stars from the late 1800s like Cap Anson, Pud Galvin, and Ned Hanlon.

In the early 20th century, the biggest baseball card manufacturers like American Caramel, American Tobacco Company, and Bowman Gum began mass producing cards that were inserted in candies and gum. This took baseball card collecting to a new level of popularity all over the United States, including in Boise. Kids would eagerly await the newest baseball cards to add to their collections, hoping for stars of the day like Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, and Walter Johnson. Stores in downtown Boise like Meldrum’s Drug Store and Kienholz Sporting Goods became hot spots for kids to trade and buy cards.

Through the 1930s-1950s, the golden age of baseball cards in Boise saw kids amassing huge collections featuring the likes of Joe DiMaggio, Stan Musial, Ted Williams, and Jackie Robinson. In the post-World War II era, Boise was rapidly growing and more kids than ever had the disposable income to spend on wax packs of cards at local drug stores, candy shops, and five-and-dime stores. Companies like Topps, Bowman, and Fleer kept the card-collecting craze going with innovative new designs each year.

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By the late 1950s though, the baseball card market had become oversaturated. With more kids than ever collecting, the supply of cards outweighed the demand. Several manufacturers like Bowman went out of business. In the 1960s, the market continued to decline as the advent of television lessened kids’ time spent outdoors trading and playing with cards. The golden age of baseball cards in Boise seemed to be coming to an end.

A resurgence was on the horizon. In the 1970s, nostalgia for an earlier time fueled renewed interest in collecting cards from the 1950s and earlier. The rise of specialized card shops in Boise helped fuel this retro craze. Stores like Pastime Cards and Sportscards of Idaho provided a dedicated place for collectors of all ages to shop for cards, especially high-grade vintage pieces. Two big events from the late 70s further boosted the market. In 1977, O-Pee-Chee began printing English-language cards for the Canadian market, rekindling kids’ interest. Then in 1979, the National Sports Collectors Convention was first held, drawing collectors from around the country to Cleveland, raising awareness.

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In the 1980s, the baseball card industry in Boise entered an unprecedented boom period. The arrival of the sport’s first true “superstar” in Michael Jordan sparked new collector fervor. Meanwhile, the advent of grading services like PSA and SGC allowed collectors to professionally verify the condition of vintage cards, fueling demand for high-quality vintage pieces. Shows featuring prominent guest autograph signers also became more common in Boise. The opening of large hobby shops and card show promoters like Dan’s Cards and Comics and Idaho Sports Collectors fueled even greater interest. Kids were now spending $10 or more on packs of Topps, Donruss, and Fleer cards hoping for star rookies or inserts.

By the late 80s, the glut was on. Oversupply caused the market to crash industry-wide. Many smaller card companies went under. But the baseball card collecting culture had taken firm root in Boise. Through the 1990s and 2000s, the scene settled into one dominated by vintage collectors, team and player collectors, and the occasional sports memorabilia show. The rise of the internet also allowed Boise collectors to more easily buy, sell and trade online. Stores like Dan’s Cards and Comics have remained pillars of the local scene for decades.

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Today, baseball card collecting remains a popular hobby for many in the Boise area. While the frenzied boom days may be in the past, card shops continue to thrive meeting the needs of dedicated collectors. Shows draw collectors from across Idaho and the Northwest several times a year. The history of baseball cards is now over a century deep in Boise—a classic American pastime that has brought enjoyment to generations of Treasure Valley residents over the decades. Whether collecting for nostalgia, investment or the thrill of the chase, baseball cards remain an integral part of Boise’s sports culture.

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