Michael Osacky is a lifelong collector who has been able to turn his passion into a career. Michael is President of Baseball in the Attic, a firm dedicated to educating collectors and non-collectors alike. In this capacity Michael travels the country as a keynote speaker on the topic of collecting, contributes as a featured writer and quoted expert in many well-known national publications, and is a certified appraiser and member of the International Society of Appraisers. Michael is the lead appraiser for PSA.
How did you get into collecting cards and has it always been just baseball cards for you?
I first started collecting cards over 25 years ago in 1997. My grandfather got me the cards for my birthday. It started with baseball but led me to collect all types of cards across every sport.
The hobby has experienced much greater levels of digitization and online accessibility in recent years. How do you think this has impacted the in-person trading and buying experience that has been synonymous with card collecting for so many years?
I think the greater digitization is fantastic. The best thing PSA ever did was allow free access to their price guides, pop reports, and tools. People want to do their own research and learn about collecting from the privacy of their own home without barriers. However, at the same time, you need to do your own research and understand who you should be listening to. The greater online accessibility has allowed "anyone" to say or act like they are an expert on social media. There’s so much content and information out there and not all of it is accurate. Just because somebody has 100,000 followers on social media, it doesn't mean they are an expert in this space.
Fanatics recently announced its new Fanatics Live streaming platform that will launch later this year and enable collectors to buy and sell cards and collectibles digitally through a personality-driven experience. How will this impact the market in your opinion and should we expect to see more platforms like this in the near future?
Fanatics is the 800-pound gorilla in our space. They are going to be putting lots of dollars into marketing which in turn should benefit everybody involved. Very exciting times! I think it's very bullish for our industry. I am unsure if others are going to want to compete against Fanatics, but I do know there are lots of startups looking for angel rounds of funding.
You’ve been a collector for a long time. What are your top three favorite cards of all-time?
My top 3 cards:
- 1914 Cracker Jack Christy Mathewson - I love Cracker Jack cards. In fact, Forbes named me the Dean of Cracker Jack's in 2017.
- 1976 Topps Walter Payton Rookie - I am a huge Payton fan. He was the first professional athlete I ever met. He signed lots of items for me, and I still have all of them.
- 1949 Bowman Jackie Robinson - I love the red background, but it’s tough to find with good registration.
You’re in charge of creating a Mount Rushmore of baseball cards. What are the four cards that you’re choosing for this esteemed monument?
- T206 Honus Wagner - Obviously as this is the holy grail and one that set a record in 2021 for $6.6 million in one of REA’s auctions. Even people outside our hobby always talk about this card.
- 1910 Old Mill Series 8 Joe Jackson - One of the few cards of “Shoeless” Joe Jackson that was ever issued, it’s the crown jewel of the T210 Old Mill set.
- 1907 W600 Sporting Life Ty Cobb Rookie - W600 cabinet cards are rare to begin with, but this is one of the rarest of them all and the headliner in the Sporting Life Cabinet set.
- 1916 M101-5 Babe Ruth Rookie - The first card of The Great Bambino as a Major Leaguer, this is one of the landmark cards throughout the history of the entire hobby.