Collector Interview: Jason Seidl

10331557_10202397158626049_755644968_nWe recently had the pleasure to interview Jason Seidl, an equity analyst on Wall Street in the freight transportation industry.  Jason holds a BS in Supply Chain Management from Syracuse University and an MBA in finance from Rutgers University. He currently resides with his wife and son in New Jersey.  What is your favorite beer?
Jason Seidl:  I must admit to being a bit of a beer snob.  If I had to pick a  favorite it would be Heady Topper by Alchemist.  They are a small brewery in Vermont that makes limited runs.  Their runs sell out in under 2 hours once they start selling them.

GWU:  How long have you been collecting and how did you start?
JS:I started collecting hockey and baseball cards when I was a kid in the 1970s.  I then began to collect game worn baseball jerseys in ’82. I switched to collecting hockey jerseys in the mid 1980s after meeting Milt Byron at a show in southern NJ.  He taught me a lot about authenticating jerseys when I began collecting and there were many people that were willing to help me along the way.

GWU:  What is your favorite team? (Click Read more)

JS:  I am a huge New Jersey Devils fan and am also a fan of Princeton University’s hockey team.  I started going to Devils games during their first season and began attending Princeton games in the late 1980s.  Princeton are some of the best games to go to.  The arena is one of the second oldest in the country and very cozy.  If you every have a chance to go try to go to the Cornell game as it typically sells out and is a great crowd.

GWU:  What is the focus of your collection?
JS:  I collect mostly New Jersey Devils and other New Jersey based teams.

GWU:  Who is your favorite player?
JS:  I have a few.  Patrick Sundstrom, Perry Anderson, Ken Daneyko, and Craig Wolanin. 

 When I was younger, I would go to Devils practice and take pictures.  I had some blown up pictures of Wolanin and he asked if he could buy them from me.  I felt weird about taking his money so I asked if he would like to trade sticks instead.  He paid his first stick up front.  Craig later offered me an opportunity to take pictures from the photographers box.  I even was able to go on the road for a game.  I have been very lucky with sports as I was also a bat boy for the Mets and visiting teams during Spring Training.

GWU:  What was your first jersey?
JS:  a 1985 Greg Adams Washington Capitals jersey from Milt.

 GWU:  What is your favorite jersey that you have?
JS:  I have a few.  A mid 70’s Brian ‘Spinner’ Spencer Sabres.  A 1983 Perry Anderson St Louis Blues dureen.  A 1987-88 Patrick Sundstrom Red New Jersey Devils.  A Scott Stevens 1991-92 Red Devils and a 1991-92 Bruce Driver Red Devils.  The ‘C’ on the Driver was transferred to the Stevens and later put back on the Driver (the Stevens currently has an A) .  You can see some of the remaining stitching around the ‘A’ on the Stevens where the ‘C’ used to be.

GWU:  If you could have any jersey in the world, what would it be?
JS:  1987-88 John MacLean Red Regular season.
GWU:  What can you tell me about that jersey?
JS:  It was the last game of the season and the New Jersey Devils needed to win to get to the playoffs for the first time.  Maclean not only tied the game to send it into overtime and then won it in overtime.  I have the Sundstrom jersey that made the assist in this play.

GWU:  What is your favorite thing about our hobby?
JS:  I feel like we are preserving history.  I love the game.  This makes me feel closer to the game I love.  I wasn’t able to play where I grew up, it was more country so ice rinks were not easily accessible.  I grew up playing baseball and was lucky enough to play through college, but I always loved hockey.

GWU:  What would you like to see as the future for our hobby?
JS:  We need to grow the hobby among true collectors and not just casual fans.  I would like to see collectors working better with card companies to help them understand that cutting up jerseys in to cards is destroying the history of the game we love, not preserving it.  I don’t mind the common jerseys here and there, but I hate to see milestone jerseys get destroyed and distributed.  I think there is a better way they can make their product without destroying history and I would like to see us help them realize this.

My conversation with Jason was eye opening.  You can hear his true passion for the game and the hobby when he talks about.  When he talks about his collection, the game, he can remember and describe the most fascinating details.  It’s easy to see his passion.  Jason believes that all collectors have something valuable to bring to our hobby, new and old collectors.  The historian side of him identifies that the new collectors are our hobby’s future.  As Jason had help with his collection when he began, he is adamant about offering the same help to new and future collectors in this hobby.

As a newer collector in the hobby, it was almost breathtaking hearing about the infancy of the hobby.  Jersey collecting has come a long way since the mid 80’s as well as authentication.  Before there were set stamps, before teams understood the market for player jerseys, authentication was an art.  The pioneers of our hobby put the wheels in motion, buying entire team sets, learning different identifiers that each team’s jerseys had, to give us the hobby we have today.