It seems that quality books featuring our precious Hobby as the primary subject are as rare as a 1933 Goudey Napoleon Lajoie. Thankfully, a book has made its way to press in the form of Collecting Sports Legends - The Ultimate Hobby Guide to satiate the book worm in me. Written by PSA president Joe Orlando, this book provides one of the most comprehensive overviews of some of the greatest cards and memorabilia in existence. Chronicling the entire history of sports collecting Americana, Orlando pain-stakingly details The Top 250 Sportscards in History, ranking in order the Top 20 cards of all-time.
Orlando's passion for the Hobby comes through loud and clear as he cites the need to share and educate new collectors on the nuances of collecting. He does this while providing a user-friendly way of understanding aspects crucial to any collection such as rarity, condition, and value. The book's Introduction serves the reader well in better understanding what to expect from the book as a whole.
A look at the table of contents should pique the curiosity of any collector;
- Ten Tips for Building a Collection
- The Top 250 Sports cards in the Hobby
- Building a Dream- A Look at Collecting the Top 30 Complete Sets in the Hobby
- Collecting Sports Autographs
- The Top 100 Autographs in the Hobby (Includes a ranking of the Top 10 Signatures)
- Legendary Lumber- A Look at Collecting Game-Used Bats
- The Top 40 Game-Used Bats in the Hobby
- Collecting Sports Tickets (Includes a ranking of the Top 15 Tickets)
- Tempting Treasure- A Look at Collecting Unopened Packs
- The Top 25 Unopened Packs in the Hobby
As I said, detailed and comprehensive. The photography is beautiful and each entry is accompanied by a professionally written synopsis of the particular card or memorabilia piece and provides not only a detailed history of the item, but also answers the questions, "Why is this special, why is it rare, why is it valuable, why is it important?"
The book's description, on the back cover, provides a concise overview;
"This comprehensive guide takes the reader on a journey through history, providing an in-depth look at the icons of sport, captured through their greatest collectibles. Composed by the leading experts in the field, never before has one book covered such a variety of Hobby subjects. For those interested in building a fine collection of sports memorabilia, from trading cards to autographs to game-used bats and more, each subject is covered in great detail. Within each chapter, the best of the best has been selected by the experts. Whether you are a hardcore collector or just an avid sports fan, this book not only helps bring the legends of sport to life but it provides crucial tips on how to assemble a world class collection. From Babe Ruth to Tiger Woods, from Wilt Chamberlain to Joe Namath, every major sports is covered. This book contains hundreds of sports memorabilia images, including many of the finest (known) examples in the world."
It's not often that I feel the need to read a coffee-table sized book cover-to-cover, but I will be doing so with Collecting Sports Legends.