Though I didn't realize it at the time, my introduction to markets came when I was about six years old and started collecting baseball cards. Each month, I'd check the Beckett price guide to see how much my cards were worth and would trade with other kids in the neighborhood and at card shops. Those were the days.
One of the first things I learned as a collector was that the quality of the card--whether it had damaged corners, print imperfections, or scratches--had a tremendous impact on its value. And back in the late 1980s, the quality of the card was subject to a lot of debate. Sure, there were general guidelines for identifying a "gem mint" and a "near mint" card, but traders would often disagree about the quality, and both parties had concerns that they might be ripped off.
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Todd Wenning does not own shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.