Sports Card Collector and Now Dealer: Greg Smith

Greg Smith with his pride and joy, a Carl Yastrzemski rookie card. Photo Courtesy: Greg Smith

By Kelly Reed

I collect sports cards. More specifically I collect baseball and football cards. I really enjoy this part of “the hobby”. There are no real rules regarding how you hobby. It’s your journey and how you want to collect and navigate the hobby is completely up to you. I’ve acquired many of my cards in my collection through traditional methods such as purchasing them at a grocery store, convenience store or trading with my friends in my youth. As I grew up and came back into the hobby after my college years I discovered there were local card shops in the Metroplex, card shows and making purchases on EBay. I took another break from collecting around 2003 as I had to step away due to life obligations i.e. mortgage, marriage and children but when I once again immersed myself into collecting in 2023 I discovered content and opportunities via YouTube and social media. One of the groups I joined was a Facebook Vintage group aptly named VINTAGE CARDS – FIRE SALES – WAX – ESTATES – AUCTION HOUSE * 1860-1993. There was a post from Greg Smith mentioning that he and his close friend Mark Ford had started a YouTube show called Stream of Card Consciousness to promote their opinions of the hobby, their experiences in the hobby and to educate viewers about the hobby. I immediately was hooked to the grass roots movement and binge watched all of their shows over a period of a few weeks. Now the show has its own Stream of Card Consciousness Facebook page and I’m a member. Greg mentioned that he was about to partake in an upcoming card show as a first-time dealer. I reached out to Greg regarding his experience and he graciously agreed to share with us via Q&A. Here’s his story…

Please share with us your origin story on how you got started collecting sports cards.
I was a little boy with a single mom who, from the time I can remember, collected sports cards and LOVED sports in general. I remember fondly how cool I thought the giant football with the team names were in the 1976 (Topps) football set and I also loved the blazing colors on the 1977 (Topps) football set. Cursive writing for team names in the 1978 (Topps) Baseball set. I guess you could say the aesthetic of those is what I remember most and what got me hooked. 

Why do you still collect cards?
Funny and somewhat tragic story. I collected basically from 1976-1990 and had my entire collection stolen in the summer of 1990.  Almost 100,000 cards just… poof. Dabbled in basketball cards a little in 1993-94 being in Orlando and we all had Shaq and Penny fever. Aside from that, I basically wiped cards from my mind until the summer of 2019. I had a cousin who was given a box of cards. She took them to a shop in Austin, Texas and they basically tried to lowball her to death. I told her don’t sell them for that so she sent them to me instead. 1959 Koufax, 1960 Banks. Some other good cards. It rekindled my interest a little, but the real kicker was when my father-in-law left me his box of 50s and 60s fire. Mantle, Mays etc. I was instantly hooked again after seeing the dream cards I wanted as a kid, and it’s been off to the races ever since.  

You have sold cards in the past online via Facebook, why did you decide to try the card show route?
I’d always attended local shows and always had the curiosity bug in the back of my mind on what it would be like to be on the other side of the table. I like trying new things so it fit my personality.  

In regard to your card show experience as a first time card show dealer, what are some of the things that you enjoyed the most?
Definitely the banter back and forth with like minded people. Sports and card lovers. I go out of my way to engage people online, but there’s just a little more to the experience when you can just nerd out with men AND women in person, about things you have mutual interest in. I brought a bunch of vintage basketball commons and this one guy had a meltdown and thanked me profusely. He said you NEVER see this stuff at shows. I was happy to be able to help him complete some sets and share the love I’ve developed for old basketball cards.  I still love my baseball and football, but this is a new wormhole I’ve discovered recently. 

The flip side to this obviously would be the less desirable aspects of your first show. What did you dislike the most that you can share with our audience?
It’s not all about the money for me. It’s partly about the money, but I did bring cheaper items and wasn’t sure about what would really sell. I could have probably stayed home and made more selling online, but what fun is that, all the time. 

Specific cons….loading and unloading. I didn’t plan on logistics of food and restroom if I got busy. And I was very busy most of the first night, and a good part of the second day. Other than that, I can’t really think of a negative experience. Even had a guy get a little aggressive about buying all my inventory for pennies on the dollar, but I just rolled with it and said I’m not that guy. He backed down. 

What was your prep process like for those who would like to do the same?
What I would tell vintage collectors (that is my main focus) is to bring as much variety as you can fit into the boxes and the space you have. There’s a decided lack of vintage at shows, but my experience is that the thirst for vintage cards is VERY real, and I had more than one person thank me and mention that they never see this stuff at shows. That was a nice feeling, so I guess to prep, fill a few boxes and binders with dollar stuff, and make sure to at least make an attempt at pricing your better stuff. There’s no higher turn off than a so called “card expert” having to whip out their phones every time you ask them a price for a card.  

What was something that you realized you should have been more prepared for?
Supplies. I forgot to bring team bags and brown bags for people to hold their purchases in, especially since several people bought 50-150 card lots.  Definitely bring bags. I had enough cash and change, but had to scramble to find stuff to hold purchases. I won’t forget again. I had sleeves, thankfully.  

Anything else that you will do differently at your next show?
I can’t think of much really other than what I’ve described above. I think for a first show, it went extremely well and was told by a couple of other vendors at the show that there was open talk of the stuff I had at my table.  

How often throughout the show were approached and asked if you were buying? How did that process go for you?
I had a sign stating I was buying vintage cards 1985 and older. Had a couple of people approach me. One guy had a 1973 baseball set. It was nice but he wanted way too much for it. I found the two instances where I was actually approached to buy by someone other than another vendor, both parties were pretty unrealistic about what they were expecting a “dealer” to pay. It wasn’t the best experience but both parties were nice enough.  At least they weren’t peddling 1992 Donruss. 

Were there any memorable moments that you would like to share?
A lady who was making her husband and kids wait for her while she spent 30 minutes picking through a 1970s box of football stars. She was giddy and picked some good ones, so she knew what she was doing. She was among the several that told me she was glad she came, because apparently I had stuff you don’t see often at shows.  

Another local card buddy brought some really nice tobacco cards and an extremely nice 1954 raw (Topps) baseball set. It was surreal to be holding Honus Wagner and Ty Cobb cards in my hands. The Aaron was a great raw copy too.    

Were most buyers looking for raw cards or graded at your table? Looking to complete sets or to buy complete sets? Oddball items?
I didn’t bring any graded so it was all raw at my table. Had one guy (another vendor who had to keep running back to his table) make a big dent in three or four basketball sets. I had some Kellogg’s and Permagraphics cards that people went gaga over. 

Photo Courtesy: Greg Smith

Did you make any purchases for your own collection? Are there any players you pc or sets that you’re working on?
I bought some well priced singles. Didn’t really have much time or the inclination to pursue cards I needed for my 1964 baseball set. Being almost exclusively into vintage myself, there wasn’t a ton to choose from but I did get probably 20-25 nice cards pretty cheap. 

I PC Carl Yastrzemski SGC slabs. I now have 78 different ones. Always on the hunt. My card buddies call me the “Yazmanian Devil”.  

Anything you’d like to plug? Youtube Channel, Facebook, X, Instagram? What’s the best way for our readers to follow you?
A friend of mine, Mark Ford, and myself host a YouTube show called Stream of Card Consciousness. It’s usually weekly or bi-weekly. You could find us there talking about the hobby. On Facebook I help administrate the Vintage Cards-Firesales-Wax-Estates-Auction House 1860-1993 group. A thriving group with 38,500 members. You can find me selling there as well as buying and interacting. It’s loads of fun. 

Do you have a hobby story or know of someone who would like to be featured in this series? Reach out to Kelly Reed at