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Collectors converge in Centereach

More than 50 vendors selling sports memorabilia and

More than 50 vendors selling sports memorabilia and other collectibles set up shop Sunday at the VFW hall in Centereach. (Jan. 30, 2011) Photo Credit: Erin Geismar

Though the poor economy has made it difficult for sports memorabilia vendors to make a living in recent years, more than 50 set up shop at the VFW hall in Centereach on Sunday to show off their varied collections.

There was a price point for everyone, from 10-cent loose baseball cards to mint-condition team yearbooks worth hundreds, and cards from some of baseball's most famous players worth thousands.

Chris Barry of Bohemia, who also sold signed pictures of movie stars and coins, said he has been collecting sports cards for 30 years and coins since he was a child.

He realized he could make money off his hobby in 1972, when he came back from war and was only earning $68 a week. He said selling off a bag of coins his father had given him as a child supplemented his income.

"It turned out it was worth money," he said. "It's basically what kept me going."

Since then, Barry said the industry has changed some with a decline in disposable income and the rise of Internet sales on sites like eBay. But he said for many people, the passion and the interest of the collectibles industry have not dwindled.

"It's just a great activity that I highly recommend," he said. "It keeps you busy and gives you something to do, especially during a winter like this."



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