On the penultimate leg of our southwest road trip, my wife and I found ourselves in Albuquerque, New Mexico. We planned on doing many exciting things in our short stay in the Duke City: visiting an Isotopes minor league game, going on a Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul tour, checking out the Nuclear History Museum, and taking the world’s largest passenger tramway up Sandia Peak, a mountain that rises some 10,600 feet above sea level. Not far from the base of that mountain was a bonus adventure for me: GameTime Sports Cards and Collectables.
GameTime is a shop designed for collectors like me. When I venture out to a new shop, I often tell my wife that it’s possible I’ll be back quickly. As soon as I stepped foot in GameTime, I messaged her and told her I’d be a while.
Almost immediately upon entering, the owner of GameTime, Jordan, greeted me. As I started to dig through an unsorted box of cards that sat on the front counter, he asked me what I collected. When I told him that I primarily focused on vintage baseball, he followed up by questioning me on my favorite set. After a few minutes discussing vintage set designs, the conversation moved to greatest hitter of all time. After a regular customer entered the store and sat down near Jordan, we pivoted again to greatest pitcher of all time.
As I finished up looking in the box up front, I readied myself to move around the store with the small pile of cards I had accumulated. But apparently, Jordan had pulled out two boxes of raw commons from 1955 and 1956 and set them next to me while I was digging. I was just too tied up in our discussion to notice.
The conversation was great, but so was the selection of items. In addition to a nice selection of sealed boxes, GameTime features a bunch of display cases around the outer ring of the store, with a couple more set up in the center of the store. Jordan pointed out where the vintage case was, but I wanted to look at everything else, too. Cases were primarily organized by sport, and often had a box or two sitting on top that represented the sport as well. After looking at the couple of baseball cases and sifting through the baseball stars box on top, I made it to the vintage case.
Jordan was gracious with his time, alternating between helping other customers and grabbing items from the case for me to examine. After I finished a lap around the store, I decided to do one more go-round to ensure I didn’t miss anything.
It turns out I did miss at least one thing. Although not a sports card, I was very excited when I ran across a die cast metal bank from the 1950s that was shaped like a rocket ship and the moon. Since my dad collects 1950s space memorabilia, I asked Jordan if he was okay with me FaceTiming with him to show him the bank. Not only was he okay with it, he got on camera with a coin to show my dad how the bank lets you “shoot” a coin from the rocket to the moon.
It was around this time in my visit I asked Jordan how long the shop had been there. When he answered “five years,” I was pretty sure I missed hearing a “twenty” at the beginning of his answer. He must have read the surprise on my face, because he followed up by telling me he tried hard to create an old school, 90s kind of card shop. He succeeded with flying colors.
As I’ve referenced plenty of times in the past, my very first blog post on this site examined the things that make a good card shop. I wrote then that a good card shop encourages congeniality among customers, treats children well, has a wide variety of items for sale, and makes an effort to know you and learn your interests. Though there were no children at the shop during my visit (it was a school day), all the other points got major checks from me.
I left the shop with some recommendations — both from Jordan and other customers — about local food and things to do in the area. I left with something else, too: a desire to go back to Albuquerque some day, so that I could visit GameTime again.
GameTime Sports Cards and Collectables is located at 1449 Eubank Blvd NE, Albuquerque, NM 87112. They’re open from 10 AM to 6 PM every day except Sunday.