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Back to the Future, SCD-Style

In a nod to the 'Back to the Future' buzz, we go back 30 years in the pages of SCD.

As I write this, I can’t visit any website, read any newspaper or walk around without seeing a nod to the 30th anniversary of the movie Back to the Future.

Actually, it’s the 30th anniversary to the day of when Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) goes to the future from 1985 – Oct. 21, 2015, to be exact. This is getting extra buzz in the sports world because in the movie it states the Chicago Cubs win the World Series in 2015. All of this is fitting considering the Cubs’ run to the National League Championship Series. Alas, a Cubs World Series victory is not in the cards for 2015.

So to follow the masses, I thought I’d take a look back at the hobby in 1985 by looking through the pages of SCD from that year. Specifically, I’m looking at the May 10, 1985, issue. The magazine was the same size as it is now and was also published on a bi-weekly basis, with 26 issues printed for the year. Bob Lemke served at the publisher, with Steve Ellingboe in the role of editor. This May issue ran 256 pages, bookended by ads from Richard Gelman and Hall’s Nostalgia.

What’s always fun to look at are the advertisements, to see what is being offered and at what prices. There were 35 pages of classified ads in this issue. There was no Internet in those days. SCD was one of just a few outlets to reach out to fellow collectors, and the primary focus was as a buy/sell marketplace.

Shows didn’t hit their peak yet. The National was in its sixth year. The Southern California Sports Collectors Club, which included Mike Berkus among the promoters, was celebrating its 9th Annual Memorial Weekend Sports Collections Convention, and the St. Louis Sports Collectors Club was celebrating its 10th annual spring convention.
The Big Apple V Convention in the New York Armory touted Sandy Koufax making his first baseball card show appearance. Flats were $9, baseballs were $20 for Koufax.

Numerous auctions were listed in 1985, often with complete lot listings. Supplies ads were abundant. If you’re going to buy cards, you need to house them nicely, right?
The variety of material advertised was much greater in 1985, but was still dominated by baseball cards, old and new. The only Dan Marino rookie card pictured in the entire issue was for a card protector ad.

A few prices listed in this issue, picked at random: Mantle/Maris Radio MIB: $150, 1975 Topps Mini wax boxes: $395, 1984 USFL set: $12.50, 1972 Kellogg’s set: $24.95, 1954 Hank Aaron rookie MT-NR-MT: $165, 1968 Nolan Ryan rookie Mint: $40, 1955 Bowman Willie Mays Mint: $30, 1911 T-3 Turkey Red Walter Johnson EX-MT: $495, 1976 Baseball Vendor Case: $1,600, Pete Rose signed bat: $150, 1949 Leaf boxing set: $300, 1915 Cracker Jack Del Pratt Mint: $69.95, Mint 1952 Red Man Ted Williams with tab: $69.95, unopened 1971 Topps Baseball 1st series wax pack: $45 and MLBPA player pencils set of 18: $7.50. Mr. Mint was paying $15,000 for a T206 Wagner.

Winning the best baseball card set for 1985 was Donruss in a survey conducted by the North Country Sports Collectors Club of New York. Topps placed third behind Fleer.

We’ll take a look at pages of SCD old from time to time in the future.