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BREAKING NEWS

She couldn’t say goodbye to Kirby Puckett

By Staff | Jan 10, 2011

Eddie Ekstrand with the page of Kirby Puckett cards she kept after selling many of her baseball cards.

Lots of boys collect baseball cards when they are young.

And, many lament that their mothers threw their card collections out after they grew up and moved from home.

Not many girls collect baseball cards.

And, certainly no adult women collect the sports players cards.

Or do they?

Eddie Ekstrand holds one of her nine stamp albums.

One 88-year-old Blue Earth woman didn’t start collecting cards until she was married and had kids of her own.

“I still worried that my mother might throw out my card collection,” Edanelle ‘Eddie’ Ekstrand says with a laugh. “I don’t think she approved.”

Ekstrand, who has been known as Eddie most of her life, didn’t get started collecting baseball cards because of her children, as both were girls and didn’t have a big interest in them.

No, she started because she was already a stamp collector and a baseball fan, and from there it just seemed like a natural progression to move onto baseball cards.

Ekstrand lived in Welcome for 45 years, where she was a Title I teacher at the Welcome Elementary School, and her husband, Bud, was the chief of police.

After retirement, they moved to Fairmont, and two and a half years ago she moved to Blue Earth.

One of Ekstrand’s daughters is Liz Boettcher, who works at the Faribault County Courthouse. Ekstrand’s other daughter lives in Maryland.

“The two girls had to always eat whatever the baseball cards came in,” Ekstrand says with another laugh. “Sometimes it was packs of gum, but it was also cereal and other food products.”

Ekstrand was a natural collector, of several types of items.

She started with postage stamps in 1964.

“I was a big philatelist,” she says, wondering if everyone knows what the word means.

She purchased many stamps, some of which came from the post office in commemorative sheets, or ‘panes.’

“Some come in sheets with the same stamp repeated,” she says. “Others come in sheets with a series of different stamps, but with the same theme.”

Other stamps come in little booklets, which are sealed and she has never opened. They are called ‘non-exploded’ if the seal isn’t broken. Some stamps are worth more not canceled, while others gain value if they are used, she explains.

Ekstrand has sheets of stamps about movie stars, famous landmarks, events and world leaders. There are ones commemorating singers, cartoons and just about any item, event or person one can think of.

She slowed down on the stamp collecting in 1990, when she was involved in the Welcome Centennial celebration.

“It was also getting to be very expensive, if I tried to buy all the stamps produced every year,” she adds. “Now you need to be pretty wealthy to continue the hobby.”

Since the post office only offers most collectible stamps for a year, philatelists need to keep purchasing continuously if they wish to have all the stamps – or else try and find them on the open market.

“It is hard to go back and fill in a lost year of stamps,” she says. “So, I stopped buying them all. Now I just look at the catalog each year and pick and choose what I want.”

The baseball card collection started later, but it, like the stamps, became a passion and she bought every card she could, by the pack or by the box.

The baseball cards also had a special use.

Even though she had no sons, she became a Cub Scout leader and den mother, and her baseball card collection was an excellent way to keep the young boys’ attention, she says.

Stamps and baseball cards were not her only collections.

“I collected unusual post cards, too,” she admits with another smile. “Lots of them, from all over the world. I also collected buttons – you know, the ones like campaign buttons with pins in the back.”

Eventually, the collections filled her house.

“I had albums on bookshelves, boxes and boxes of baseball cards on shelves under the staircase,” she says. “I had dresser drawers full.”

Then, she and her husband sold their home in Welcome in 1994 and were going to move to Fairmont.

“I had to make the decision to part with the collections,” she says.

Some of the many stamps and cards went on an auction sale with other household items in Welcome.

But, the majority were put on e-Bay by her daughter in Maryland.

“They actually sold for quite a bit of money,” she admits. “I had a stamp yearbook from 1964 that I bought for $11 and it sold for $100.”

She also had a large button with a former Viking quarterback on it. She bought it for a nickel, and sold it for $17.50 at the auction.

Of course, she didn’t quite sell out all of her collections.

“I went through them and kept back my favorites,” she says. “I still have eight or nine albums of my favorite stamps, and a couple of albums of baseball cards.”

One of the stamp albums has some unusual stamps she worked hard to get.

There are stamps from New Zealand which have pictures of movies made there, like the ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy.

One of the baseball albums is filled with nothing but rookie cards of famous players.

And, pretty much every Kirby Puckett baseball card ever produced.

“He was my favorite,” she says. “I could never give him up.”