Growing up I collected coins, mainly pennies. Unlike some kids my age, I wasn’t all that interested in the “baseball” cards, though I did like the pink slab of bubble gum. I never got into trading the cards among friends.

What prompted me to think about such things was the recent news that the Topps company that held the rights to baseball cards for more than a half-century was blind-sided by an end around from another company and will lose the rights after 2025. Sports cards and memorabilia is big business. Forget about  trading transactions on the playground. 

Maybe I’m getting old. Maybe I’m becoming a Luddite. Or maybe I’m just sad to see some simple things become complicated. Perhaps it’s a reaction to “non-fungible tokens”  or NFTs as those in-the- know call them. The NFT is a piece of computer code that can be attached to a digital image that then makes it unique.  It’s the new baseball “card” and then some.

In those good-old-days when I was driving bank tellers crazy buying rolls pf pennies, sorting them for my collection purposes and returning them for another roll or two, I could open a book designed for penny collections and see what I had and what I needed. I could get the magnifying glass and look for a mint mark. I never did find the elusive 1909 S VDB, no matter the amount of annoyance I caused the bank. It was a hands-on thing to do.

I understand collecting “things,” whether sports cards, coins, whale-oil lamps, books, and so on. I have trouble with digital representations of things that are kept in digital storage. I guess they don’t have to be dusted.

Never mind Bitcoin. There’s no place in my penny book for one. And at about $60,000 “each” I can’t afford one and I know I won’t get one in change at the grocery store.