Collector Interview: Tom Coleman


There are so many collectors in the hobby posting on different mediums.  Some are more interactive while others enjoy reading and keeping their interactions to a minimum.  Whatever the case may be, its always great to get to know some of our fellow collectors out there.  Tom Coleman reached out to us, allowing us to ask him a few questions and show up his bendy closet rack. What do you do for a living.
Tom Coleman: I’m a Fedex courier in the northwestern suburbs of Baltimore. Kevin Plank founder and CEO of Under Armour is a regular customer.  

GW: What is your favorite beer?
TC:  In my 20’s it was Labatt Blue. In my 30’s Molson Canadien now in my 40’s Leinenkugels Summer Shandy.

GW: What is your favorite team?
TC:  I’m a die hard and I do mean I die hard Washington Capitals fan and when they existed a huge Baltimore Skipjacks fan.

GW: Who is your favorite player?
TC:  Ollie Kolzig among recent players was my favorite. Got to know him when he played in Baltimore and stuck with him throughout his career. Growing up I tended to like 4th liners, depth defenseman and backup goalies.

GW: When and how did you get started collecting?
TC:  Back in 1990 just after John Druce was on the loose for the Caps in the playoffs, I was at a card and memorabilia show just outside Baltimore where a dealer I was friends with and later co-hosted a sports memorabilia radio show with was set up and had a beat to heck early 80’s Penguins Gary Rissling jersey. This dealer knew nothing about hockey ( he once asked me if I collected signed hockey balls! LOL) and I have no idea where he got it from but it was ripped, marked up beyond belief, bloodied, you name it; it looked like it had been worn in a street fight. Anyway he only wanted 50 or 60 bucks for it which at the time was far less than authentics were selling for. Needless to say I was hooked almost instantly. Shortly after that I befriended a guy at the Skipjacks games who wore a different jersey to every game and got started buying his extras.

GW: What makes up the bulk of your collection?
TC:  Most of my collection is from Baltimore and Washington. I also collect Cincinnati teams. I’m trying to acquire one home and road pair of every style worn by the Clippers, Skipjacks and Bandits and am more than halfway towards that goal. Unfortunately since we haven’t had a team here in 20 years , finding jerseys have become almost impossible. At one time I had every Caps style home and road but recently broke that collection up to concentrate on players I liked growing up.

GW: If money was no issue, what is the one jersey you would want?
TC:  My Grail would be a US Coast Guard Cutters jersey from WW2. They were based very close to where I now live and played out of Baltimore. They were one of the greatest US teams of all time yet they are mostly forgotten today.

GW: What is your favorite jersey in your collection?
TC:  I have 2 favorite jerseys; one is a first year Baltimore Clippers Dave Creighton that was a gift from a dearly departed friend whose stick collection I now own more than half of as well. The second is a Cincinnati Tigers 81-82 jersey. One year only in CHL team. Great looking logo yet nobody remembers them. As far as I know, I’ve got the only example in the hobby.

GW: What is your favorite thing about the hobby?
TC:  My favorite thing about the hobby is the friends I’ve made especially those whom I’ve been able to interact with since I joined Facebook. Paul Rank has kindly let me get my feet wet as an admin on the bad trader page; it makes me feel like a real player when I’m really just a fringe collector. The Washington/Baltimore Caps collectors I count among my closest friends in the hobby.

GW: Do you go to or have you gone to any Expos/Shows?
TC:  Back in the 1990’s we had game used equipment shows in the Baltimore/Washington area. I was a regular attendee or dealer. The last several years I’ve been a regular at Francis Rady’s Northern Virginia show and I made my Mei Grey Expo debut this past summer.

GW: What would you like to see for the future of the hobby?
TC:  I think the hobby has a strong future ahead of it but the fact that teams have become wise to the value of jerseys worries me a little. I see a trend where teams wear far more than 3-4 sets per year as long as they think there’s a market. That could drive prices down and inflate supply. Anyone familiar with the baseball card hobby around 1988 knows what I’m talking about. I’d like to see a database where everyone can share their knowledge of their favorite team and make it an easily accessible site for all collectors to enjoy.