The things we value

I was thinking again today about how odd it is that baseball cards are valuable. I’ve bought and sold cards since I was a kid, and somehow they just keep getting more and more valuable… at least the rarest and most sought after. Sports cards can sell for tens of thousands of dollars each if you have the right ones. It’s so strange to think that I could exchange a few pieces of cardboard with pictures on them for a new car or even a new house! I could with the right ones. But then it’s important to remember that unfortunately baseball cards are like people. Most of them are not as valuable as they should be.

The majority of cards were mass produced in the 1980’s and 1990’s, and therefore have very little value. There’s just no demand. I can buy 5000 common cards from 1988 for $5. But then a 1952 Mickey Mantle in good shape would cost me thousands. What’s the difference? I understand that the Mantle is more rare, but it’s not that much more rare! And so it is with human beings. Why is a sports star so much more valuable than a teacher? Why is a movie star so much more valuable than a nurse? Why will Lebron James make more in one game next year than my child’s principal will make all year? These disparities make no sense. I believe people should make more money based on their education and skills, but the differences between the top 1% of salaries and bottom 1% are just too great. It’s not a very Christian system we have. Jesus sure didn’t devote all of his time and resources to the rich and the elite.

I’ll leave you with an example from my own life. I painted a 5 foot impressionistic sort of painting when I was in college. I’ve been trying to sell it for $150. It took me about 24 hours total working on it here and there over the course of a couple of weeks. I haven’t had any interest on it at all in years. But recently on Ebay a 2020 Topps card sold for $148.28 with 22 bids. It was not the only one of that card. There were 49 others. It wasn’t autographed or anything like that, it was just a card of a popular rookie. So that piece of cardboard… made this year… not a one of a kind… sold for what I’m trying to get for a one of a kind 5 foot tall painting. It’s a strange world. Thank you for reading my 35th blog.

Mark Inglis

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