Collector Interview: Scott Himowitz

Hockey pic

Scott is a great collector and also plays hockey, like many collectors do.  He is an avid Ohio State fan so it was not uncommon that our paths crossed when I picked up an Ohio State jersey. What do you do for a living?
Scott Himowitz: I work for Verizon Wireless in HQ doing personalization marketing. My team touches the web site daily to tailor campaigns towards various customer segments usually identified through market research. Sometimes the work I do is widely seen on the Verizon Wireless web page, other times it’s seen by a certain segment and may be indistinguishable to what may normally be there, except to the group I am targeting.

GW: What is your favorite beer?
SH: Steinlager from New Zealand

GW: What is your favorite team?
SH: Grew up a NJ Devils fan and have been one since 1983. However, I also root for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

GW: Who is your favorite player?
SH: John MacLean

GW: When and how did you get started collecting?
SH: 1992 as a Freshman at Ohio State. I became friends with Duke Johnson, who’s the rink manager there. Duke would often wear gamers to the rink and we started talking one day. I bought my first jersey from Duke, a 1989 Road Nordiques Jeff Jackson, at the end of the school year. I had also at the same time seen Milt’s ads in Hockey News and called for a catalog. I saw he was doing a show at a local mall and I went to look at his display. I brought the Jackson with me and saw he had a white Nords worn by Paul Gillis with the “A”. I just liked it because it looked “dirtier” I asked Milt if we can do a trade. He looked at the shirt and said “you got this from Duke, right?” Instant friendship. Did the trade and also wind up buying my second that day- a 1990 Road Pens Jay Caufield.

GW: What makes up the bulk of your collection?
SH: Ohio State gamers or former OSU players who played in the NHL. Besides Hockey I have some OSU football jerseys, 2 game used helmets-one worn by 1995 Heisman Trophy Winner Eddie George. Also, own a complete Football Uniform-minus cleats that includes the pants, jersey, helmet and gloves.

GW: If money was no issue, what is the one jersey you would want?
SH: I have 2 ’83 or’84 Gretzky photomatched. ’85 Lemieux “Sunday jersey” Rookie

GW: What is your favorite jersey in your collection?
SH: I have 2 the first is actually not hockey. It’s a shirt that I got from a friend I met collecting, he knew I wanted it and why and when he was ready to sell it contacted me. 1979 Columbus Clippers Home jersey. The jersey was from the first year the Clippers were a Yankees affiliate. George Steinbrenner had just bought the Yankees and the Clippers joined them. At first base coaching was George’s old friend Howard “Hopalong” Cassady who played at Ohio State and won the Heisman in 1955. George was a graduate assistant at OSU and met “Hop” there. Besides playing football, Hop was also on the baseball team and when George needed a coach he gave his friend a call. The jersey has the armband on it for Thurman Munson who tragically dies that summer. It’s a perfect mix of both Yankees and Ohio State history for me.

The second jersey is my 1998-99 playoff worn Av’s road Greg DeVries. Slight wear on it, but it has the CHS patch for Columbine High School. I actually was able to re obtain the shirt a few years ago and glad to have it back in my collection

GW: What is your favorite thing about the hobby?
SH: It would be cliche to say the people, but I have made friends all over the world through collecting.

GW: Do you go to or have you gone to any Expos/Shows?
SH: Proud to say I was part of the very first Atlantic City Expo.  Cool Aid anyone? I used to go to a show organized by large dealer in the hobby. Recent remarks by their owner to me last summer at a NJ Collectors dinner, I decided not to go anymore. I can choose where I spend my money and with whom. I felt like my opinions don’t matter anymore as long as my money keeps coming. So they don’t get either now.

GW: What would you like to see for the future of the hobby?
SH: Same thing I have been saying for a while- prices need to come back inline with what they used to be. “Cup of coffee” guys going to $400 is nuts! These are $200 shirts tops. Stars are always going to drive a premium, but when I see a guy who has a lot of hype around him go for crazy money on a pre-order before he ever plays an NHL game I have to say something is out of whack. We currently have a large company who basically drives the market, pretty much a monopoly. So until buyers stop paying for crazy prices and inventory builds up, the market won’t change.

Second thing is I would love for people to get more educated about the shirts they own. Just because it has a stamp or tag inside that says it’s real for isn’t good enough. I wan tot know why. When I first started I had to learn to “read” a jersey. Understand teams unique quirks on repairs etc. I don’t expect myself or anyone to be an expert on everything, which is what builds a community we can learn from each other. However, to say it’s real simply because it has a tag or stamp to me also makes no sense