I was 11 years old and had recently discovered baseball cards. Growing up in a small (less than 2000 people) town, there were only four of us collecting cards. That might have been because only one small mom and pop shop ever had any cards and the four of us nearly killed each other to buy what cards were available. Whenever one of us would go out of town, we would get cards if we could and come back acting as if we were returning from the Crusades, showing off our new treasures. I think we started trading cards instinctively. It was just natural to trade doubles for cards we didn't have. Whenever one of us was able to get our hands on pre-1981 Topps cards it was like a feeding frenzy to trade whatever we could to get them. They didn't have to be stars, we were just amazed at how "old" they were...as if 1979 Topps cards were that much older than the 81s we were opening.
One day, one of us ended up with one of those chunky little Beckett Price Guides that came out each year. That ruined our trading. Suddenly, it didn't matter if you needed or wanted a card as much as it mattered that the trade was even based on the card value. Or should I say "supposed" card value. Within a few months we quit trading altogether. It wasn't fun anymore. I don't blame Beckett, they were just a company with an idea and it led to much success and money for those inside the company. Even today, all these years later, Beckett is what it is. Some people don't like Beckett and have very valid reasons for their opinions. Pricing is too subjective and in Beckett's case their prices oftentimes don't seem to be based on reality--what a card is worth is what it sells for and Beckett doesn't reflect that accurately. Beckett, to me, is like some of the card manufacturers...you like them or you don't. Obviously, I strayed from the subject of this post (I tend to do that). Thanks to that price guide, our trading came to a halt and my interest in collecting dropped off quite a bit. Fortunately, all these years later, I've rediscovered the joys of trading, but that's another post.