We all collect sports cards featuring pictures of professional athletes on them. Sometimes, though, those athletes are collectors just like us! One such example is Super Bowl champion offensive lineman Evan Mathis. Evan recently answered some questions for me about his start in collecting, what he collects now, and his plans for his new website!
BU: Can we get a little background on you?
EM: I was born in Birmingham, AL in 1981. I grew up there and graduated from the University of Alabama in 2004. In January of 2005 I went to Scottsdale, AZ to train for the NFL Combine. I spent every off-season there during my 12-year career and I recently moved to Brentwood, TN.
BU: How were you introduced to the trading card hobby?
EM: My very first exposure was getting packs of Garbage Pail Kids at the grocery store. Shortly after it became baseball cards, starting with 1988 Topps when I was 6 years old.
BU: What do you currently collect?
EM: That’s always a hard question for me to answer because I’m all over the place. When people ask me what I’m looking for I just tell them, “I don’t know what I want until I see it.” I used to be focused on high grade HOF rookie cards in all sports but there’s too much fun stuff out there. I do still like rookie cards and I cover everything from prewar to current. We recently started the Ken Griffey Jr. PSA Master Set on the registry. As we buy collections and hunt for stuff, it’s a lot of fun to be able to pull stuff out for the personal collection as well as work on side projects as a team. We are going to see how far we can get on the Griffey set with only cards that we have submitted for grading.
BU: Any favorite pieces you’d like to share?
EM: Some of my current favorites: 1953 Topps Mickey Mantle PSA 10, 1990 Topps NNOF Frank Thomas PSA 10, 03-04 04-05 & 05-06 Exquisite Basketball cases, 2011 Bowman Chrome baseball case, 2003 Topps Chrome basketball case, 86-87 Fleer Basketball box with 4 MJ stickers and an MJ #57 showing through the top of one pack, 2000 Contenders Tom Brady Championship Ticket BGS 9
BU: What was it like to see yourself on a card for the first time?
EM: I was originally upset that Upper Deck chose such an awkward picture of me but awkward describes that period of my career so I eventually learned to embrace it. My RC is 2005 UD Sweet Spot and it’s numbered to 699. My 2nd card didn’t come out until 2014 Topps.
SPORTS BOARDS® Pinstripe Sports Frame Kit. View Both the FRONT AND BACK of the Cards. 14 x 11″ frame with nine windows that hold standard Trading Cards.
BU: Did you come across many other athletes that were collectors?
EM: Not many that were into cards. A lot of guys collected autographs and swapped jerseys. I would always get the cards I bought shipped to the locker room so when I was opening packages I would share stuff with my teammates. A select few came into the hobby and dabbled a little bit and others simply enjoyed hearing about it.
BU: What do the players (non-collectors) think of the sports card & memorabilia hobby?
EM: I think players understand it because it’s fan engagement and fans are the ones that create the market for sports to exist at the level they do. Many also grew up with at least some exposure to trading cards. And many of these guys are getting paid well to sign cards for the sports card companies.
BU: What was your experience like at the National this year? I didn’t get a chance to say hi!
EM: I had a blast. It was non-stop from start to finish. All those long days were a lot of work but they seemed to fly by because I always had something to do. I enjoyed buying, selling, trading, chatting, and making connections.
BU: What are your plans for your website (cardology.com)?
EM: Initially it will just be to field buying leads but I’m considering expanding it as a storefront and hobby resource page.
BU: What do you think of the current state of the hobby?
EM: The hobby never ceases to amaze me. There are just so many different ways to take part in it and I’ve fully immersed myself in a lot of them. I used to stick to collecting vintage because it seemed like the “safest,” but I’m here to have fun too. There are people at every level of this industry and it seems to only pick up momentum over time. Sure, there are ebbs and flows, but the trend seems to be upward for the most part.
BU: Anything else you’d like to share?
EM: I’m always buying collections and large inventories. Anyone that wants to explore the possibility or that has a lead for me, I can be reached at [email protected]. I pay finder’s fees when a lead is purchased.
Cardology Instagram: @cardology69
BASEBALL Sports Board 22 x 28″ outside frame dimension. Cards are not included. Board has 10 Windows. Nine fielder windows and one for a Manager or a Designated Hitter.