Mr.E’s Treasures

Mr.E has collected sports cards since he was 11. When he met his future wife, Michele, as a teenager, he introduced her to the hobby. So they’ve had many years of collecting and from it have built up their collection and started a shop to share the hobby with others. Below are a few of their tresured items.

Ted Robbins jersey card

Ted Williams jersey card

Dan Marino autograph and jersey card

Dan Marino autograph and jersey card

Jackie Chan autograph card

Jackie Chan autograph card

Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, and LeBron James quad autograph card

Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, and LeBron James quad autograph card

They have a lot of other amazing stuff, but it can’t be shown all at once! Check back again soon to see some more of their treasures posted!

Vending Machine of Cards

Vending Machine of CardsI came across this photo on Flickr today. It’s a vending machine full of cards at the entryway of the Pathmark supermarket at the Atlantic Center in Brooklyn, New York. It was taken in 2005, so I don’t know if it’s still there.

I’d have to say this would be way exciting to see in real life! But since I live in Utah, I get my card fix at my local Mr.E’s sports cards and collectibles shop in Orem.

For those who’ve never been in Mr.E’s, I’ll have to say it’s like seeing this vending machine TIMES 1,000! There’s cards all over the shop in boxes as well as binders stuffed in the shelves. In addition to the cards, there’s jerseys hanging in the shop from the likes of Troy Aikman and LeBron James.

There’s balls signed by teams and players such as a basketball signed by the NBA Jazz team. It’s feels like being in a museum full of sports collectibles. It’s great that you can come away from it with a pack or two (or more) of cards and be able to pull a memorabilia card and have it be a part of your own sports collection. Begin your own collection with Mr.E’s!

Retail vs. Hobby Packs

As a kid I remember waiting in line at the cashier’s lane at Wal-mart and seeing the packs of football, baseball, and basketball cards lining next to the aisle. It was always a treat when my parents would let me choose a pack for them to buy for me. It was always exciting to see what players I would get.

Nowadays, there are still those same retail packs seen at Wal-mart, Shopko, Kmart, etc. but the card industry has changed since I was a kid to include more exclusive cards not available in those retail stores. They still provide the regular cards in their offered packs, but usually won’t have signatures and jerseys included. Wal-mart sells boxes with 20 various packs inside and claim there is a memorbilia card included. But this memorbilia card is usually not in pack and was already pre-picked to be put in the box, therefore, not the best.

Hobby packs on the other hand gives the collector higher chances of pulling a memorabilia card. This includes gold framed, signatures, dual signatures, jersey pieces, signature + jersey, and so many other fun, varied cards. Hobby packs can be found at card shops who carry them. This includes Mr.E’s shop in Orem, Utah. He is the only hobby card shop in Utah Valley with the other closest card shops in Midvale and Salt Lake City. Mr. E is obviously an avid fan of trading cards and makes sure his customers are able to take care of their valued memorabilia cards. He’ll provide cases and slips to protect these valuable cards.

Regular hobby packs can range from $3 to $24. Other high-end hobby cards are sold in boxes and can be $300-$600 with guaranteed signatures. Retail packs are still fun to grab on the way out of a grocery store, but if you want a chance to pull more special cards, visit Mr.E’s who can provide these packs and more for you.

Daily Herald features Mr. E’s

The Daily Herald published a close-up story on Mr.E and his shop

Click on the link above or read the story below:

A collector’s treasure trove

By Mark Johnston/Daily Herald/June 8, 2009

MARK JOHNSTON/Daily Herald  Collector Robert Austin, right, of Provo, opens a pack of newly released Topps Legendary baseball cards as store owner Rodney Eastman, left, watches at Mr. E's in Orem Thursday, June 4, 2009.

MARK JOHNSTON/Daily Herald Collector Robert Austin, right, of Provo, opens a pack of newly released Topps Legendary baseball cards as store owner Rodney Eastman, left, watches at Mr. E's in Orem Thursday, June 4, 2009.

Many sports fans might consider Rodney Eastman’s job one of the toughest in the world.

“I slap my hands and sit in a chair and try to stay away from the cards,” said Eastman as he sits behind the counter of his sports memorabilia and collectibles store, Mr. E’s, in Orem.

The small 20-by-50-foot room is a crowded but well-organized treasure trove of collectibles — everything from sports cards and autographed memorabilia to comics, Beanie Babies and kids card games. Every wall is covered, every shelf space filled and every display case overflowing with collectibles that Eastman started gathering himself many years ago and is now sharing with others.

As a young man Eastman served in Vietnam with the U.S. Navy and then went on to work for the Postal Service for 35 years. Over the years he kept up the hobby of collecting sports cards that he’d started as a kid in the 1960s for different reasons.

“A nickel a pack and put them in your spokes and make [your bike] sound like Elvis’s motorcycles.”

In 2001 Eastman was driving to work when his car was hit head-on while driving on Orem’s Center Street. The accident landed him in the hospital with serious injuries for more than nine weeks and he then required weeks of rehab to learn to walk and talk all over again. After recovering, his mind was made up.

“I had enough cards so I could open the store and retire,” said Eastman who never thought of running Mr. E’s as work. “I’m sharing my hobby and people are sharing their hobby with me.”

Customers are fellow collectors. Eastman shows interest in their hobby and shares in the excitement when a rare card is pulled from a pack in his store.

“When it comes to be that it’s no fun anymore, I’ll quit,” Eastman said.

There’s not much chance of that happening any time soon as the sports card industry is continuing to grow, change and appeal even more to collectors. Interest declined in the hobby for a time as during the 1980s and ’90s when the main manufacturers of trading cards greatly overproduced their product to take advantage of a growing demand.

“They just made millions of them so everybody has them,” Eastman said. “But now they’re putting autographs in them, they’re putting one-of-ones in them, they’re making cards that are worth $25,000.”

The excitement is back and growing as manufacturers Topps, Upper Deck, Donruss and U.S. newcomer Panini issue rare, limited edition cards. Swatches of a player’s game-used jerseys, a single autograph or even two, three or up to six autographs on cards has brought life back to the industry as sports fans hope and pray for that “big pull” every time they open a pack.

It’s not just sports cards either as shoppers can pick up cards of classic and current movie and music stars and celebrities. Buyers have a chance of pulling a wide range of signatures including John Wayne, Funkmaster Flex, George H.W. Bush, Julie Newmar and John Travolta, or maybe a piece of Elvis’s pajamas.

Even though packs start out rather cheap at $3-4 each, more serious collectors won’t flinch to spend hundreds of dollars on boxes or even packs of cards that promise rarer treasures inside.

Ten or 20 years ago, those in the hobby could never have imagined collectors spending close to $300 for a box of cards that only contains two packs with a single card in each. But, obviously, the chances of pulling a card displaying the autographs of four NBA stars or a large, autographed swatch of an NHL star’s jersey are much greater in high-end packs.

“You don’t need to go to Wendover to gamble,” joked Eastman’s wife, Michele, referring to the excitement that opening packs of sports cards brings to many collectors. Many collectors, being very superstitious, have a hard time picking a single pack or box from a shelf full of possibilities, sometimes making their lucky spouse or friend pick for them.

Eastman recalls various moments when customers, young and old, have pulled rare and highly priced cards from packs while in the store. The excited exclamation when the autograph of a favorite player is revealed beneath the foil wrapping is just why Eastman continues to enjoy his hobby on a small-time level. That face-to-face interaction with fellow collectors is just as important to Eastman as making a sale and one reason why he doesn’t want to grow too much or sell items over the Internet.

“I enjoy coming to visit with him and getting to know more about the cards,” said customer Robert Austin, of Provo, who has been frequenting Mr. E’s for the past few months. Just recently Austin pulled a dual autographed card with the signatures of basketball star Lebron James and basketball legend Julius Erving from a pack.

Collectors from as far as Richfield, Vernal and Ogden make the trip to Orem to enjoy a wide selection and friendly interaction at the store, which is hard to come by in many places.

“They know he cares about the cards as much as they do,” Michele said of her husband, who doesn’t hesitate to throw in free protection with purchases of cards. “He doesn’t care what it costs him to make sure that if a kid has a good card that it’s protected.”

Both Eastman and his wife work to teach new customers the importance of protecting and preserving their collections in the hope that it carries over to all their other belongings.

“I want to take a 2-year-old, 5-year-old, 10-year-old or 80-year-old and I want to teach them to take care of their cards so they can get the best value for them later in life,” Eastman said.

Even as a young collector Eastman went to great lengths to protect his growing collection. Before leaving to serve in the Navy he stored boxes of his treasures between the floor joists of his parent’s home, only to return years later to find that his family had moved and his collection was buried, and still is to this day.

Eastman has recovered from that card-collection tragedy just as he recovered from his auto accident. His collection is thriving and has grown to uncountable numbers, including priceless rarities well-protected and stored in various locations, one of which is Mr. E’s, where he spends his days sharing his hobby and furiously fighting the temptation to open every box on the shelf to discover the treasures waiting inside.


About Mr. E’s Sports Cards and Collectibles

Mr.E’s shop is located in Orem, Utah and has been offering sports cards, memorabilia and other collectibles since 2003. This shop is the only one of its kind in Utah Valley. Mr.E has sports trading cards ranging from football, baseball, basketball and hockey as well as NASCAR, celebrity cards, Yu-Gi-Oh, Magic and other collectible items.

Photo by Mark Johnston

Photo by Mark Johnston

Location: 720 S. State Street in Orem, Utah.

Map of Mr.E's

Card Show: The next card show is scheduled for Saturday, July 18 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Mr. E’s. At this event, several local card collectors gather together to buy, sell and trade their cards. Everything is 10 percent off that day in Mr.E’s shop. The card show is free and open to the public with a raffle drawing for an autographed Troy Aikman’s jersey. For table information call Rod at 801.224.6677.