From the Archives: Mum goes a little crazy as kids slam dunk card fad

Card crazy: David Maher of Shepparton just loves his NBA card collection — but the cost of the hobby and arguments the cards cause, drives his mum, Annie, a little crazy. RAY SIZER picture.

Monday, May 16, 1994

American basketball card collecting is taking Shepparton by storm.

For many children it’s simply a hobby, but for others it’s much more serious. “It’s like the stock market,” say Frontrunner owner Graeme Matthews, of the American National Basketball Association cards.

And it’s not just children who have swarmed like bees to honey to the card collecting phenomenon.

Mr Matthews says the shop’s customers range from six-year-olds to 65-year-olds.

Collectors sell cards of average value for $6, while the most expensive card at the moment (which nobody has seen in Shepparton) is said to be worth up to $7500.

About 200 kids a week visit the Frontrunner store with the intention of buying cards. Many others go to other sport stores, newsagents, milk bars, video stores — or anywhere else the cards are sold.

While cash registers ring cheerfully, a lot of parents are left pulling their hair out.

“My kids are crazy about them. They’ve got albums of cards — it’s costing me a fortune,” Shepparton mum Annie Maher said.

“Every time we go down the street it costs me $20 on cards, if they get their way.

“Sometimes we can talk them down to buying the cheaper packs. Our kids have got into so many arguments after they’ve swapped a card and then regretted it. Now we have to watch every swapping procedure.”

Mrs Maher, who has two sons, aged 10 and 12, has warned them not to swap their cards with older collectors.

“The older boys can con the little ones into swapping their good cards,” she said.

“I just hope that later we get some of our invested money back!”