By Mira Serrill-Robins
BOOM AND BUST. Tracy Hackler of Beckett Media, which publishes magazines on sports collectibles, thinks a sudden influx of investment-minded card collectors in the 1980s also is to blame. They quickly abandoned collecting when they sensed poor profit opportunities, and that hurt sales, Hackler figures. "For the 50 years [prior to the boom], collecting cards was almost entirely a pursuit of passion," says Hacker. Then, in the '80s, "it became a get-rich-quick scheme. The number of manufacturers and cards multiplied, then almost as quickly as those people came in, they left."
Analyst Dennis McAlpine of McAlpine Associates agrees. "There were too many com