EAST WENATCHEE — Handling a sports trading card, to Derran Donoghue, is “just magic.”
“It’s a warm and fuzzy feeling,” says the owner of The Cardman. “It’s like you’re hanging out with this guy on the card. I’ll probably never meet him, but I can look at this guy and feel like I know him.”
And there’s the thrill of finding a truly special card.
Not long ago, a customer came into Donoghue’s shop with a 1955 Hank Aaron card.
“I’m still shaking from that,” Donoghue says.
He started collecting cards when he was 5 years old, and opened his first business, with the help of his mother, Jeannie Donoghue, when he was 15. He worked the sports card circuit and traded with friends.
Jeannie is now 81, and still helps with the business, along with Donoghue’s girlfriend, Melissa Craven. The shop sells and trades in all types of sports cards, along with memorabilia, along with Pokémon, Magic and Yu-Gi-Oh!. The Cardman also has a shop in the Cashmere Antique Mall.
Donoghue had a card shop for 10 years in Wenatchee but moved into a shop next door to his house when his dad’s health turned bad. His business is by appointment only because of Donoghue’s health concerns. He suffered injuries when playing football in high school and, more recently, had back surgery after a car accident.
Donoghue has been in the business so long that old customers are now coming in with their own children.
“That, to me, is magical, to be able to teach these generations,” he says. “I love working with the youngsters. You see the light and the passion in their eyes if you have a team or a player that they just have to have. It’s just awesome.”
It takes him back to the first card he ever purchased as a child: a Fleer Darren Dalton.
I bought it because he had my same name,” Donoghue says.
He remembers spending $1.50 for the card. Unlike lots of expensive cards in the shop, this one sunk in value. He estimates the card, still in his possession, is worth 50 cents today.
“I still think it is the coolest thing ever, and I still feel the same thrill when I open a pack of cards today.”